NordLink interconnects networks, markets and renewables of Europe

How ABB is combining cutting-edge HVDC technologies from its sites in Europe to support integration of European networks at a higher level. A true win-win

The award of the NordLink converter stations and cable system announced recently marks yet another pioneering HVDC project together with Statnett and TenneT. The HVDC system, rated at 1,400 megawatts (MW), will join two of Europe’s main power grids, the continental ENTSOE grid and the Nordic grid, and allow greater trading capacity necessitated by the increasing share of renewable power.

The 623-kilometer (km) interconnector enables power flow between Norway, with its vast amount of flexible hydropower, and Germany with an ever increasing amount of intermittent wind and solar power. The additional connection capacity will enable better utilization of the power markets, potentially bringing down electricity prices while increasing the amount of renewables in the energy mix. A true win-win solution.

ABB technology contributes to European journey

This is the first deployment of HVDC Light in a full bipole asymmetric configuration. It is the second time this technology has been designed at ±525 kilovolts (kV); the first installation, also supplied by ABB, was recently commissioned at Skagerrak 4. ABB usually builds converter valves with a hanging structure to optimize design and cost, and long hanging valves is the standard approach for HVDC Classic. At the rating applied here, this HVDC Light design has a striking similarity with HVDC Classic. The multilevel valves, to be manufactured in Ludvika, Sweden will be equipped with semiconductor devices of the IGBT type sourced from our high power semiconductor factory in Lenzburg, Switzerland. Another cornerstone in the delivery are the converter transformers that will be manufactured based on decades of experience at our facility in Ludvika, Sweden.

To say that HVDC enables long distance subsea transmission is an understatement here. After 53 km of overhead lines from the Tonstad converter station in Norway, the mass impregnated (MI) cable system, rated at 525 kV, will cross 516 km of the North sea floor and then stretch 54 km into the German landscape to the connection point at the main 380 kV AC network in Wilster. ABB will deliver the German sector of this MI cable system from our Swedish factory in Karlskrona – and we are proud to offer both MI and extruded cable systems at this high voltage, which underlines that HVDC Light technology is maturing at an amazing speed.

At the end of 2019, our customers will be able to take one more step towards Europe’s 2020 targets on renewable generation and interconnected energy market capacity. We are honoured to be part of this journey.

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About the author

Magnus Callavik

Vice president and General Manager ABB Sifang Power Co. Ltd., Previously Technology Manager for BU Grid Integration, a part of ABB’s Power Grids division
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